3 Santa Clara County Jail Guards Placed on Leave After Inmate's Death

Officers have not been legally or administratively charged with anything, union rep notes

Three Santa Clara County correctional deputies have been placed on administrative while investigators look into the death of an inmate inside the county’s main jail.

The death occurred around midnight Wednesday on the sixth floor of the main jail in San Jose.

Sources say that particular floor is where Sureño gang members are housed, as well as inmates in protective custody.

“Deputies were going around doing their welfare checks,” said Sgt. James Jensen, sheriff's office spokesperson. “The inmate was not responding to them knocking on the door. They went in and rendered aid. Fire and paramedics were called.”

Paramedics declared the inmate dead in his cell, Jensen said.

But sources close to the investigation say the inmate may have died after being beaten or aggressively restrained by guards.

Investigators are not commenting on those accusations.

The coroner spent the day performing an autopsy on the inmate, and the sheriff’s office has asked the medical examiner not to release any information on the case.

“It is still an open investigation,” Jensen said. “We’ll go with the coroner’s report to find out what happened. Cause of death, motive of death, and we go from there.”

The union president for correctional deputies confirms three guards are on administrative leave, but notes they have not been legally or administratively charged with anything.

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